When I was 19 I started working at a bar. It was a popular bar that I had snuck into with friends. Started chatting with a gentleman at the bar (soon to find out he was the owner) who graciously asked, “How the f”ck did you get into my bar?” at the end of a very nice conversation. It was also followed up by, “You start tomorrow.” The next day was St.Patricks Day and I would work the longest shift I’ve ever worked. 9am to 6am. Best night of my waitressing career.
From there, lots of memories unfolded behind the bar of this quaint Irish Pub set back in the suburbs of Tampa. I meet lots of people who I still call friends to this day. Many friends I have lost touch with, but I could pick up a conversation with them if I saw them…In a heartbeat.
“It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday
The regular crowd shuffles in
There’s an old man sitting next to me
Making love to his tonic and gin.”
I continued on to finish college while working there and was able to finish college debit free because of this job. I enjoyed my job and loved the people there. The owners and co-workers were family. Many of us spent holidays and many occasions together, at the bar, with customers whom also were like family. This definitely was the place where everybody knows your name. Each night was finished off with Piano Man on the jukebox and a great (loud) rendition of Sweet Caroline. I meet many of my closest friends for the first time at the bar so long ago.
To me, this was more than just a bar, just a job, just people who were crossing in my path in life. I spent the better part of my 20’s there, growing up into the person I am today. Meeting people, learning their stories, before social media, when you weren’t glued to your phone when you went out, taking pictures of your beer and posting it. Lots of fun and memories that live on inside my mind and in my heart.
In that tiny bar, I met a boy, who I fell madly in love with. We had never met before and because all the stars were aligned, we crossed paths at that very place.
I truly believe that everyone has meaning in your life. For me, had I never had that conversation with that gentleman at the bar, my life might not be what it is today. People are put in your path for a reason and then taken out, too soon before you can even say thank you. Not sure where I’d be if I wouldn’t have taken that job.
I won’t have the chance to say thank you to Bernie for giving me a job. He was loved by everyone and I was proud to say I knew and worked for him. Thank you for the fond memories and for placing me in the right place at the right time.
“And the piano sounds like a carnival.
And the microphone smells like a beer.
And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar.
And say “Man what are you doing here?”
Sing us a song you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feeling alright.”
Thanks for the memories Bernie!